The Science of Warming up by Chappy Callanta

18 Feb

Have you ever wondered why every class has to start with a proper warm up? This blog feature seeks to put those questions to rest. We invited Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and TRX Trainer Chappy Callanta of 360 Fitness Club to shed some light on the matter. Here’s what he has to say 🙂


Coach Chappy (center) trains the Polecats with TRX

by Chappy Callanta

Warming up has always been an ongoing debate among fitness experts. It seems that everyone has their own idea on how to effectively get the body ready for some exercise. It started with the standard “static” stretches when you just hold a pose for 15-20 seconds and repeat for different parts of the body. Then people started saying that “dynamic” warm up was the way to go wherein you have a number of exercises performed while moving from one side of the room to the other. Then people started combining the two trying to get the best of both worlds.

So whatʼs the best way to do it? First lets look at the science.

Why do we have to warm in the first place? Warming up has physiological and psychological effects to your body. You raise your core temperature and at the same time mentally prepare for what is to come. Lets use the age-old car analogy since it seems to display the point effectively. Like a car, your body has to go through different gears before performing in high speed. Going from 1st to 5th will just result in a busted car or in your case, a busted knee, shoulder, neck, etc. By investing some time in preparing the body and mind for what is to come, youʼll gain the tools to maximize your performance and of course your training outcomes.

In my work with elite athletes and recreation exercise people, the warm up has been a constant part of the program regardless of the intensity or duration of the workout. Itʼs safe to say that everyone needs it but thereʼs no general rule for every exercise routine. I follow the SAID rule or Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. Basically, the workout should be tailor-fitted to the duration, intensity and type of workout you will be doing. This means that your main activity will dictate what your warm up should be like.

Regardless of the activity, I propose that you follow these 4 phases to complete a 10 minute warm up: 1. Mobilization 2. Pulse-Raise 3. Dynamic Streching 4. Movement Rehearsal

Imagine you just walked into the gym from a whole day of sitting in the office, thereʼs no way that youʼre gonna go at a full blown warm up immediately. Mobilization allows your joints to go through their range of motion, preparing them for a more dynamic warm up. It raises the core temperature and improves your proprioception or your “muscle awareness”. My favorite routine would be the lunge to hip flexor stretches (fig 1-6), or what I like to call, the greatest stretch ever.

Pulse-raising can include skip rope, brisk walking, jogging in place or other aerobic warm up routines. This gets your systems ready for the work to come. This also increases muscle elasticity which then lowers the possibility of muscle tears.

Dynamic Stretching is actually similar to the first phase although you start to take your joints to the limit or similar to what your main exercise routine would be. Forget about static stretches that will lower your core temperature and decrease performance. Go with arm and leg swings (fig 7-9) and combination stretches like the squat to swings (fig 10-11).

Finally Movement Rehearsal will consist of the same movements in your workout but done in a lower intensity. This allows your brain to rehearse the proper movement patterns and your muscles to experience the workout before doing it in a higher level. Movements will depend on your actual work out.
So there you have it, a general guide for your warm ups. Try it out the next time you go to the gym and see your performance improve immediately. Donʼt forget to ditch the static stretches.

chappy image 2

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fig 1-6 the greatest stretch ever

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fig 7-9 arm swings

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fig 10-11 squat to swings

To know more about Chappy Callanta and 360 Fitness Club visit their page at


4 Responses to “The Science of Warming up by Chappy Callanta”

  1. sexysadie February 21, 2011 at 6:07 am #

    great article! 🙂

  2. halfawakehaiku February 23, 2011 at 2:27 am #

    360 rocks!

  3. polecatsmanila February 27, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    Indeed halfawakehaiku, indeed 🙂

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